Healthy Start vitamins: increasing accessibility for eligible families

Andrea Basu, Service Lead for Public Health Dietetics

Sarah Powell-Jones, Dietetic Assistant Practitioner

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board


Healthy Start is a UK wide scheme supporting eligible pregnant women and families (with children under 4 years old) by providing weekly food and vitamin vouchers.

The Healthy Start vitamins provide folic acid and vitamin D which are recommended for supplementation in these key population groups.

Watch the video below to find out more:

Within Wales, the vitamins are typically distributed via local midwifery and health visiting teams however, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on access for many families, and presented an opportunity to explore additional points of access, particularly in supporting ongoing provision of the vitamins beyond the initial 8 week supply.

Project Aims

The principle aim was to increase accessibility to the Healthy Start vitamins for eligible families in the counties of Wrexham and Flintshire (BCUHB- East) by:

Healthy Start free vitamins poster in English
Healthy Start free vitamins poster in Welsh


Twitter post promoting access to vitamins for families
Twitter post encouraging pregnant women to ensure they are getting enough folic acid
Another Twitter post encouraging pregnant women to ensure they are getting enough folic acid


“During the Covid-19 pandemic, women often have not gone out due to social distancing and lockdown hence reducing their absorption of Vitamin D from natural sunlight also. This project by means of supplying vitamins from designated pharmacies can only improve the uptake in pregnancy and now they are more easily accessible from designated pharmacies in Flintshire and Wrexham.”

Flying Start Midwife

“The project has been instrumental to increase awareness amongst parents in Flintshire of the benefits of the Healthy Start voucher scheme. By collaborating with local pharmacies there has also been a greater accessibility to vitamins for mothers in their pregnancy and for their babies. Feedback from local parents has been positive stating that by accessing the free vouchers it has helped them to access vitamins for themselves in pregnancy, for their babies if required and to buy fruit, vegetables milk etc and really helps towards the shopping bill each week.”

Health Visitor

“The pilot project is an excellent idea and an excellent opportunity for eligible families to access free vitamins as part of a healthy diet. The pharmacy setting is an ideal for this pilot as it also gives the families who request a vitamin supply to access other healthcare treatments, services and advice.”

Community Pharmacist

‘Speaking to parents who have come in with the Healthy Start vouchers they say it is great to know where they can now come to get their vitamins, it has made it a lot easier for them. They are telling their friends too and we have handed out the application forms as well’

Pharmacy counter – staff member

‘I’m really glad I can pick them (the vouchers) up from here now, it makes it a lot easier for me’

Healthy Start Parent (recipient)

Key Outcomes

Project reach statistics between February and April 2021

Next Steps

Our Exemplar Experience

Extremely positive! We have benefited immensely from the mentoring, networking, and range of learning events. The kudos of being a Bevan exemplar project has most definitely helped us to navigate through some of the challenges we’ve faced, and we believe it has helped us to achieve solutions more quickly than we would have otherwise.


Healthy Start Vitamins